Investors land on feet

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Listed property companies are happy with the imminent introduction of the Real Estate Investment Trust by 2009.

The National Treasury last week released its discussion paper, Reforming the Listed Property Investment Sector in South Africa, for public comment until January 31, next year.

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a tax designation for a corporation investing in real estate which reduces or eliminates corporate income taxes. In return, the trusts are required to distribute 90 percent of their income, which may be taxable in the hands of the investors.

The REIT's structure provides a similar structure for investment in real estate as mutual funds provide for investment in stocks.

The REIT's structure has been used in the US since 1961, and was later adopted by the UK, Australia, France, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and The Netherlands.